RMT Calls for New Talks on Job Cuts Dispute

RMT has sent the following letter to London Underground's Director of Employee Relations:


I am writing to propose a way forward with regard the dispute between LUL and the trade unions RMT and TSSA in particular in relation to outstanding safety issues which you withdrew from the table because we would not suspend our industrial action.

On Thursday 25th November 2010 you rejected the trade unions offer to suspend the current industrial action if in exchange you would suspend the implementation of the OSP (your proposed changes to staffing levels). However, you accepted the principle that there needs to be further meaningful talks. In particular responding to our specific written proposals of 24th November 2010, you offered to enter into the following reviews : -

• A review into the safety implications of proposed changes to rosters,
• A review the overall impact on staff (including addressing issues arising from the collective grievances),
• An equality impact assessment
• A review of the adequacy of staffing levels in ticket offices.

The TSSA and the RMT indicated that in principle the proposed structure for talks would be acceptable. Unfortunately the negotiations broke down when you rejected an offer from both the TSSA and RMT unions to suspend all industrial action when you refused to suspend the OSP and insisted that the ‘go-live’ date of 13th February 2011 would not be put back. In our view this precluded any meaningful consideration of the outcomes of these reviews.

While the unions could not agree to suspend industrial action on such an unequal basis, we none-the-less now have an agreed framework for talks. Despite the failure to agree on the mutual suspension of industrial action and the implementation of OSP, this basis of talks may still provide a way forward.

I would therefore ask you to immediately timetable talks in line with your own proposals of last Thursday. While the RMT does not have confidence that these reviews can be properly concluded within your artificial deadline of six weeks, we recognise that this dispute can only be solved through negotiations.

Consequently, it is our view that the sooner you return to negotiations the sooner we are likely to reach a resolution acceptable to all parties. It is possible that during the course of such talks we may reach a measure of agreement over our concerns. However, if you refuse to talk to us, then the inevitable consequence will be an escalation of industrial action in the New Year.

We further reiterate that the RMT are still prepared to go to binding arbitration under the auspices of ACAS in order to resolve how many tickets an hour need to be sold to justify a ticket office being open. As you know the current figure of 15 tickets an hour has been unilaterally moved by you to 30 despite London travel watch saying it should be 12.

We look forward to meeting you and are happy for ACAS to convene any further discussions if that is your preference.

Yours Sincerely

Bob Crow
General Secretary